Major recycling shake-up for Yorkshire city

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A major shake-up of a Yorkshire city’s recycling is set to be introduced in a bid to make cost savings of around £400,000.

The proposals for York, which would affect around a third of the city’s households, would see a change to collection days brought in for recycling.

The move, say councillors, would mean recycling could be rolled out to an extra 800 homes in the city, but it would also mean the loss of eight full time roles.

But, the authority has said, change is absolutely necessary if it is to meet its budget targets, cut landfill and costs and increase the amount of rubbish recycled.

“This is essential,” said Coun Andrew Waller, executive member for the environment.

“What we want to do is provide more opportunities for people to recycle. But in order to free up local resource we’ve got to meet this black hole in the budget.

“We will be sticking with fortnightly collections but, by changing the day, we will be able to operate the system more efficiently.”

The changes, to go before council for approval on January 9, would come into effect from April 3 and would impact on around a third of York households.

Other proposals include measures to ensure kerbside recycling runs at full capacity, cutting the number of waste vehicles and replacing them with new ones, and cutting the numbers of casual staff.

Rubbish and garden waste would not be affected, York City Council has stressed, and free boxes, lids and nets would be provided in the initial months of the roll-out.

Failure to make these changes, the council has warned, would mean the shortfall would have to be recovered from other areas.

“The scale of the overspend is £400,000,” said Coun Waller. “We’ve had to take money from other pots to cover that shortfall.

“We appreciate that changing the day for parts of the city will be causing disruption so we are having a long lead in and running a communication strategy so that people understand why we are doing this and when.”

Acknowledging that the move will mean redundancies, he said it is essential that efficiencies are made.

“Eight full time posts will be going - we’ve been holding four vacant roles in anticipation of this and we hope we can cover the remaining four with voluntary redundancies,” he said. “The consultation process is running over the New Year period.

“We’re explaining why it is that we are doing this - to save the money that we need to - and people understand that council budgets are under pressure.

“But fundamentally they will still get the resource, it will just be on a different day.”

A second phase of the review of waste services will take place next year and will look at rubbish collections (grey bins/black bags) and green waste collections. It will focus mainly on the opportunities the authority can take following the introduction of the new waste vehicles in 2018/19.

All properties affected will receive a new calendar of collection dates in the post from March, and a list will be published on the council’s website.